Slice of Life Tuesday: Read aloud on the road

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Years ago, when my husband and I had a car without any kind of tape deck or decent radio, we came up with a reasonable solution – Scott would drive, I would read.  One memorable summer, when we drove to Scott’s cousin’s lake house in the Adirondacks every weekend to escape Brooklyn’s intense heat (and our lack of air conditioning), I read aloud “War and Peace”. The long drive became so much more tolerable when accompanied by Tolstoy’s words.

For many years after, road trips became all about how to survive with three children and assorted pets all jammed into a minivan.  Our listening turned to Raffi, story tapes, and years and years of Harry Potter.

Last Sunday, we returned to reading aloud.  Scott drove and I read Jane Kenyon’s marvelous  book, A Hundred White Daffodils: Essays, Interviews, The Akhmatova Translations, Newspaper Columns, and One Poem. Kenyon’s columns for her local newspaper were our especial delights – summer bazaars, church yard sales, preparing the garden for winter, welcoming a gift of a hundred white daffodils.  It was such fun to read aloud in that setting again, as New York rolled by and we returned to the traffic clogged highways of New Jersey.  I love reading aloud to my sixth graders, but I hadn’t realized that I missed reading aloud selections from our own reading lives.  I had spent all summer with Jane Kenyon’s essays and poems, reading and re-reading her luminous, earthy, and wryly funny words.  But I had read them silently, to myself, and for myself.  On Sunday, I enjoyed them the way all great writing is meant to be enjoyed: read aloud and in the company of  someone who loves words just as much.

Reading aloud is definitely not just for kids…


19 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Read aloud on the road

  1. I’ve missed road trips since we moved to the NW. We only do plane trips now and they’re not so conducive to reading aloud. That book looks great, so glad you got to share it with Scott to help the miles roll by.

  2. How beautiful your relationship with your husband is. I loved this image. I have such fond memories of read aloud myself. When my stepfather was on a business trip, my mother would let us eat breakfast for dinner in the kitchen while she read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Love. PS your link at TWT is incorrect.

  3. Reading aloud is a gift and an acquired taste for some adults. I love how you have cultivated it with you husband. And I’m impressed that you can read aloud while driving!

  4. I am reading a book of former newspaper columns & enjoy them so much, will find your book, too, Tara. What a lovely thing to read to Scott and enjoy the words together. It really does make the miles fly.

  5. What a great way to make a long (or even short) drive enjoyable. It sure beats trying to find a radio station in range that is playing something you want to listen to.

  6. What a wonderful shared joy. My son and I have listened to books together, but we have not read aloud together in a long time. Your descriptions bring back a longing for those shared voices and words.I will have to get Kenyon’s book.

  7. You captured my thoughts exactly! Our car trips always include books on cd and stacks of books for me to read from my comfy spot in the passenger seat. I love how your slice bookended with you reading aloud to your husband.

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